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You can exchange the fuse blocks. Make sure you have 60 amp fuses in the mains however.
When the power goes out in different areas of the house do you know which fuse is being affected? Is it one of the screw in fuses or more than one?
It varies actually, as far as which circuit seems to be affected. We can't seem to draw any correlation from one time to the other. Sometimes when we push the Main Block in, just part of the power comes on (say half the fuses) and when we draw out just ever so slightly on the rectangular handle of the block as though we were going to pull it out again, the power comes on to all fuses. Very frustrating and I worry so about fires etc. So to clarify, if we make sure that the same cartridge fuses that are currently in the Main Block are put into the Range Block and switch those fuses out into the Main Block, we can switch the actual physical blocks. ... essentially causing the block marked "range" to be the "main" and the "main" to be the "range"? The only reason we were thinking of doing this, is that the Range Block is never removed and IF we were wearing out the Main Block because of pulling it out often, it could sit practically forever in the Range "bay" and we would essentially have a block that had seen very little pushing and pulling over the years as our Main. When we bought the house they had 30 amp fuses screwed in. Our friends have the same situation, but decided to replace their 30 amps with the newer 20 amp fuses that have a little circuit breaker on it. Their reasoning was it would be safer on the wires, and if they ever draw over a 20 amp load all they need to do is go out and flip the little breaker on the fuse much the same as a circuit breaker panel. Someone else told me those weren't safe. sigh............obviously the chance of fire is of paramount importance as we work to check and tighten all the outlets etc in the house prior to having the fuse box replaced by a circuit breaker panel. We know that inspectors will be arriving when the electrician upgrades, and are trying to get as much of the tedious small stuff done ourselves prior to that time.....UNLESS in your expertise you sense that we are in grave danger at the moment........and then I'm not sure what I shall do short of panic :). Thanks for being patient and listen to me ramble.
If any of the wiring in the house is 14 AWG you may only have 15 amp protection. If any of the fuses have more than one wire connected you should have more fuses to keep one wire per fuse. You were right, 30 amp fuses are a big code violation for safety reasons. #12 wire may have 20 amp fuses while #14 only 15 amp.
What you describe to me makes me advise you to do a service upgrade and have a breaker panel installed with a new service wiring to the power company connections. This could also include a new meter socket. This will solve all your problems and also keep you safe. If you have junction boxes with lots of wires in them you can separate these into individual circuits at the same time and really make things better.
A new 100 amp service is the way to go to solve all your problems at once.
Where are you located?
since we are trying to keep costs down, and realize we can tighten up the old outlets (in case connections are loose etc) we would like to get that done prior to the electrician coming. We are on a very limited budget in an old small home, and I really don't want to pay him to tighten up outlets etc if we can do that part. I realize he probably will want that done prior to his upgrading the box. I'm just wanting to be safe until he arrives. We should be on schedule for an electrician within the month. Is it safe to switch out the Main and Range blocks while we are doing this clean up?
We are in a small suburb of Kansas City.
btw - the meter is not up to code and the power company has already indicated that it will need to be replaced. They will run a 200 amp wire by default and we will need a mast head etc installed as well.
they stand ready to do that as soon as the city inspector gives his all clear. It's going to be costly enough for the panel upgrade, masthead, meter etc....I just can't contemplate where I would get the money to pay an electrician to tidy up the outlets etc...so I'd love to by myself some time to get those done prior to his arrival.
have you ever heard of a Main Block acting so wonky? It really hasn't done this until after the power company came out and tightened up the slack in the power line (they added some addition contraptions at the house...can't describe them really - appear to be ways to keep the line taught)
btw - a very good friend of mine through the Masons was a master electrician. Sadly he passed on last year. It's times like this, I wish he was here to pick his brain....and I just want to tell you how thankful I am to have found someone else to bounce ideas off of. I appreciate your assistance.
Feel safe switching the main and range blocks. You might find an electrician with an old panel like yours for spare parts. I try to keep things like that around when I take them out. If the jaws that the bock fits into get loose it could cause a problem like you describe. When you take out the main look at all 4 of the copper blades to see if there is any sign of arcing. This could help you find the issue you are having.
How much do electricians in your area charge for a 100 amp service upgrade such as yours?
thank you so much for your help. My estimates based on research only is around $1500. I have not had them come out and provide an actual estimate yet so it may be more. I'm not sure if that estimate includes the masthead etc.
Is there any way to tighten up the jaws safely. I'm assuming not since that would probably be a hot electrical area?
I think part of my main worry is exactly what all the city inspector will be looking at. If he just inspects the electricians work at the upgrade area, all should be well. If he goes throughout the whole house and finds something "wrong" that has been "wrong" for years, I worry that he won't allow us to stay in the house because of something or other than is "unsafe". I'm probably worried about things I shouldn't be, but when you have little money it's a way of life really.
Since you are answering multiple questions, I would be happy to send you additional money. How do I go about doing that?
He should inspect only the repairs done. He should not go snooping elsewhere. I am an inspector in Michigan and I am only allowed to look at what was done, not the whole house. For a 100 amp upgrade with a mast and meter socket that price sounds plenty. I can't get that much here in S.W. Michigan. It shouldn't be more than $1500. I am outside of Kalamazoo.
A bonus would be the way to pay additional money to me.
and how do I do that - this is the first time on just answer and I
am wanting to make sure YOU get the money
I don't have the same screens that you have. Somewhere you have the option of giving a bonus.
I'll keep looking - if I can't find it, I shall inquire tomorrow, I'm assuming I could send the bonus after we are done chatting (assuming I don't readily see it now) since it's getting late?...two more questions
can I request YOU should I have a question in the future (would like to since you've been so kind) and the second question is...have you heard any pros or cons on those little fuse breaker things?